State GOP wants Beshear’s messages on COVID school closures

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The Kentucky Republican Party wants to see messages between Gov. Andy Beshear and 13 individuals over school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Republican Party of Kentucky (RPK) alleges that Beshear has escaped scrutiny over his handling of school closures during the pandemic and filed Freedom of Information Act requests over the governor’s correspondence with individuals in the governor’s office, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Jefferson County Teachers Association. 

The Attorney General’s office found that the governor’s office violated the Open Records Act regarding these records. 

“Andy Beshear continues to escape scrutiny for how he and his team made decisions related to school closures during the pandemic,” said RPK spokesman Sean Southard. “After presiding over historic learning loss for students, doesn’t Andy Beshear owe parents transparency about who was advising him and how he made decisions? What is he trying to hide?”

State education report cards found that students across Kentucky are struggling post-pandemic, and the Republican Party views the slip in performance as reason to look into the governor’s communication for school closures.

“It appears transparency about the education of our children isn’t important enough to Andy Beshear to do a simple e-mail search,” Southard said.

Kentucky Democrats have claimed that Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is running against Beshear for Governor in 2023, is using his office as a political tool. 

“Daniel Cameron has made it increasingly clear he will use his office not to make Kentucky safer, but to go after political opponents in both parties,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge. “Daniel Cameron violated ethics laws by instigating baseless investigations against Governor Beshear and has now ruled over and over against his GOP opponents in the 2023 election. Daniel Cameron isn’t fighting for Kentucky – he’s fighting anyone who’s a threat to his ambition – and he’s using a state office and state employees to do it.”

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The governor’s office also said that Cameron didn’t give the opportunity for Beshear to respond to the request they ruled on.

“The attorney general’s office changed the rules of the game during the appeal process,” said Crystal Staley, the communications director for Beshear. “Our office was never given the opportunity to respond to the specific request they ruled on.”

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